New heads of top judicial bodies sworn in by Al-Sisi

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Three judges have been sworn in as new heads of Egypt’s top judicial bodies by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi Saturday in the Presidential Palace in Heliopolis.

On Thursday, Al-Sisi announced the appointment of the new heads of three of Egypt’s top judicial bodies to replace judges that have reached the age of retirement.

The president appointed judge Magdy Mahmoud Taha Abu El-Ela as head of the Court of Cassation—the country’s top appeals court—judge Hussein Abdou Khalil as head of the State Lawsuits Authority, and judge Rashida Mohamed Anwar as head of the Administrative Prosecution Authority.

Abou El-Ela was the deputy president of the Court of Cassation and one of the three candidates nominated by the Supreme Judicial Council for the position. He accepted the appeal of former Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Nazif against his five years in prison over illegal gains charges, and rejected the appeal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leader Mohamed Badie in the case of naming the brotherhood a terrorist group.

Khalil was born in Nuba, northern Egypt, and was working as head of the State Lawsuits Authority in Aswan. He was then appointed as head of the authority’s Upper Egypt sector. He was also selected as a member of the Supreme Council of the State Lawsuits Authority.

Anwar was working as the first deputy and director of the technical office of the head of the Administrative Prosecution and was born on 14 September 1947.

However, Al-Sisi is yet to appoint a new head to the State Council. In May, the State Council general assembly decided to appoint judge Yehia Dakroury only as a candidate to head the council for this legal year, which is contrary to the amendments made to the Judicial Authority Law by the government and parliament.

Dakroury was the judge who ruled in favour of Egyptian sovereignty over the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir on 16 January.

In April, Al-Sisi ratified a New Judicial Authority Law, which gives the president the right to appoint the heads of the country’s top judicial bodies. The amendments to the law grants Al-Sisi the right to select the head of each authority out of the three most senior ones nominated by the respective general assemblies.

Judicial bodies vehemently expressed their rejection of the law, believing that the new amendments violate the independence of the judiciary. However, following the law’s approval, these bodies stated that they will respect the law despite their opposition.

Also, Al-Sisi honoured the former heads of the top judicial bodies: judge Ali Sukkar, the former head of the State Lawsuits Authority; judge Ali Rezk, the former head of the Administrative Prosecution Authority; and judge Mustafa Shafiq, the former head of the Court of Cassation.

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